These are some excerpts from the Buster Olney chat on ESPN.com yesterday.
This off season is killing me. It is starting slow. I have got to know one thing, please. Are the Mets all bark but no bite when it comes to getting all these free agents? Also who do you see them signing? Sexson, Pedro, anybody?
John: I think Omar wants to be a big-time player, but let's face it, the Mets' credibility right now is not high. Ortiz's comment about Pedro the other day reflected the general perception about the Mets: He ain't going to no Mets. Yankees went through the same thing in the early '90s, when the Mets still owned New York. I thought that Omar would come in and blow away the competition for Pedro, offering 4-55, that type of thing, to make damn sure he won. At some point, the Mets are going to have to take a gamble like that -- and then win. I'm not sure what they can do this winter to overcome that; they've got to win next summer, or at the very latest, in '06. Then free agents would look at them differently
Buster hit the nail on the head here. Who in their right minds when they are in good health and have successful teams chasing them would come here? In my opinion, the one goal the Mets had in 2004 was to create an atmosphere and a sense that his team was getting better. Moving in a positive direction. The goal was to approach .500 and they pretty much failed miserably. The Mets can only get big time free agents by taking chances on guys like Magglio for lack of better option basically. The Mets need to change the perception that most players and baseball people have of the team and they may have to take a few risks to do it.
Jeff (Nashville, TN): In your opinion, is Sammy Sosa going to be a Cub next year? If not where do you see him most likely to go. It seems that the Mets have really cooled their interest in Slammin’ Sammy.
Olney: Hey, Jeff -- yes, I bet he's with the Cubs next season; I've thought that all along. I thought the Mets have been insane to consider Sosa and all of his baggage, and besides them, I can't imagine anyone willing to take a chance. First day of spring training should be interesting, as Baker and Sosa try to make nice...
Music to my ears...until I hear Alou is a target of the Mets.
Mike (NJ): Any chance of Beltran to the Mets?
Olney: Mike: Sorry to be a naysayer, but no chance. Boras will always keep the Yankees in the loop on the nature of the Mets' offers, and let's face it, George will never let the Mets outbid him. Never.
Never...Well maybe not never, but Beltran to the Mets seems pretty damn slim. I know people advocate trumping everyone's offer and overpay, but the Mets are not going to do that. No way, no how. Whether they should or not is arguable, but that does not seem like an option.
Jerry (Dayton): Buster, what do the Red Sox do with their two first baseman, Millar and Minkei... Do you see a deal that is promising out there for either player?
Olney: No. I think they are both decent players, but nobody's dying to get either guy. Millar is essentially a mistake-hitter at this stage in his career, and there are questions about Mientkiewicz and his ability to stay healthy. If the Red Sox traded either guy, their biggest return would be to save the salary they wouldn't have to pay.
This should be music to some people's ears. Mientkiewicz for basically peanuts.
Franco (Hoboken): what about Magglio Ordonez?? He seems like a great fit for the Mets. thoughts?
Olney: Franco: Agree completely. You could make a one or two-year commitment, with lots of incentives, and if he comes back, great. If he doesn't, you aren't wrecked financially. It's the type of gamble the Mets should be taking.
Buster, I agree. I completely agree. Why not take a chance on a guy who is proficient hitter. What can the Mets lose? Finish in last place? Been there, done that. He's not blocking anyone in the minors and won't be blocking any bigger better free agents in after 2005 or 2006. Do it.
JeMar (Pittsburgh): It's been 11 years since we finished above .500. Do Pirates fans have any reason to think this is the year we'll finally break out of it?
Olney: JeMar: Yeah, in fact, I think the Pirates' window of opportunity is approaching. We'll see if their pitching -- Perez, Wells -- all comes together at once. That's what has to happen.
This is just to make us Met fans feel a little better. Yes, it can get worse. It can. The Pirates have been rebuilding since Barry left the team.
According to Pedro's agent, the Mets are not out of it yet. It's most likely agent speak and leverage against the Red Sox as I still think he'll land back in Beartown. The Yankees are close to inking Carl Pavano, which forces Boston's hand in the Pedro negotiations.
Seattle appears the likely destination for Richie Sexson, and Baltimore the likely destination for Carlos Delgado, which may force the Mets to get a first baseman via the trade route. Boston is shopping Doug Mientkiewicz and Kevin Millar.
If the Mets get Mientkiewicz and his .260 average at Shea with 10 homers, they absolutely need to walk away with a major bat in the outfield.
There also was one three-way trade rumor yesterday that had the Cubs getting Mike Piazza, the Rangers getting Sammy Sosa and the Mets getting Alfonso Soriano. But indications were that the deal was not happening.
The Cubs, Yankees and Astros are Beltran's three main pursuers, though Boras said Friday night an unexpected bidder has joined the mix.
Any chance Minaya is in on this as the secret team?
Hey Hendry, the Mets will take Derek Lee of your hands if you want to shed payroll.
Omar better get his head out of his before all the pitchers are off the table while he's still woo-ing Pedro.